Dealing with disasters: Need for training and preparedness

Disaster preparedness and response are two core areas of focus in disaster management. The aim of disaster management is to preparedness and response at all the levels before, during and after disasters and to give all components of the movement the means to work together in a coordinated manner. Training is about raising awareness of key stake holders about what the emergencies are that they may face and giving them confidence. The focus of disaster management training is generally on improving the technical skills of the participants, but also on personnel and team management. It aims to encourage an exchange of experience and knowledge and the creation of networks amongst the disaster managers. It also aims to improve coordination of disaster response and the quality and availability of disaster management tools.

Response being the most perceptible and most visible among all the elements of disaster management cycle the efficacy of the government role in disaster management is going to judge largely, most of the times, by the quality of response and its effectiveness in minimizing the loss of lives and property of the effected

people when a calamity actually take place. It is therefore, appropriate that government has created ODRAF as a specialized, multi- disciplinary and multi skilled force. The ODRAF units have extended commendable service since their inception in Search and Rescue operations. Efficiency will lie in training and re-training of these personnel. Efficient response to disaster will necessitate training of not only ODRAF personnel but also several other target groups. It involves several other agency and groups, such as police, Fire Service, state govt. Personnel civil defense organization as well as community volunteers.

In order to meet the growing need for providing specialized training to ODRAF personnel in a dedicated manner and ensure the synergy of providing training to them along with Fire Service and Civil Defence, Govt. of Odisha has envisioned the creation of an integrated State Institute of Disaster Management (SIDM) under the aegis of OSDMA inside the campus of Revenue Officers’ Training Institute (ROTI), Gothapatana, Bhubaneswar.

The Governing Body of OSDMA in its 27th meeting held on 04.03.2015 Disaster Management Training Cell (DMTC) has been set up in Revenue Officers’ Training Institute (ROTI), Gothapatana, Bhubaneswar for conducting capacity building programmes for different stakeholders in disaster management. The DMTC will continue working for capacity building till the formal facilities of State Institute of Disaster Management (SIDM) are set up. Accordingly, OSDMA is organizing different capacity building training by using half of the available training facilities of the ROTI. However, some amount of in house training activity for ODRAF has already been going on, ,ODRAF personnel are being deputed to different national repute institutions for specialized and TOT courses.

With Odisha becoming a major player in the country’s economy, there is an emergent need to also have a sound security mechanism of its own. The consequences of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) emergencies may stretch SDRF capabilities to their maximum extent. OSDMA has promoted initiatives for a series of training on CBRN emergency management for ODRAF and Fire Service personnel jointly with NDRF which specializes in CBRN emergencies.

Since the establishment of OSDMA, Odisha has moved from a response oriented, relief centric and post-event syndrome operation to a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness driven disaster management. There has been also strategic change brought in from the governmental interventions for relief and rehabilitation to capacity
building of the community and various other stakeholders, credited with pioneering works in the field of disaster management in the country.